The Liberty can now roll out a starting lineup with an All-Star at every position: Stewart, Vandersloot, franchise guard Sabrina Ionescu, former MVP center Jonquel Jones (who arrived in a trade in mid-January) and wing Betnijah Laney.
ESPN reported Stewart will take “ substantially less ” than her maximum contract to help fit Vandersloot under the WNBA’s hard salary cap. Laney may yet be moved to create financial flexibility for the Liberty.
Vandersloot’s arrival will only add to the conversation heralding the dawn of the superteam era in the WNBA — whether that’s to celebrate or bemoan the NBA-like convergence of star players. The Las Vegas Aces, who won the title last season, swooped this offseason to add Candace Parker, giving them four No. 1 overall draft picks in their starting five. The Liberty and Aces now boast a combined seven of the 10 All-Star starters and six of the 10 players who made All-WNBA teams last year.
Vandersloot, who turns 34 next week, spent the past 12 seasons with the Chicago Sky, winning a long-awaited title in 2021. She has led the league in assists six times, and ranks third in WNBA history in assists.
She played collegiately at Gonzaga under coach Kelly Graves, who rose to national prominence at Oregon, where he coached Ionescu. Stewart and Vandersloot currently are playing together in Turkey during the WNBA offseason.
Vandersloot announced the move Thursday afternoon on her social media account, two days after saying she would be leaving the Sky. The Seattle Storm were the runners-up to sign the Washington native.
Vandersloot is married to longtime Sky teammate Allie Quigley, who said Wednesday she would be sitting out the 2023 WNBA season.
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